Jason V. Barabba is a Californian composer and non-profit arts administrator. As a composer he has an affinity for collaboration, especially with authors (living and dead) whose work inspires thoughtfulness, intelligence, and emotional investment in the listener. He prefers to tell a story with his work even when there’s no text or specific drama indicated. In a nod to his theatrical side, he frequently incorporates text spoken by singers, actors, and instrumentalists, to convey his ideas.
Works by a diverse range of authors including Ursula K. Le Guin, Tao Lin, Helen Keller, Herman Melville, Christopher Durang, David Bartone, Terry Pratchett and even his own father and great aunt have all inspired his compositional process. Le Guin has said of Barabba’s work, “Some composers use words as raw material. Like Schubert or Vaughan-Williams, he collaborates with them...the texture of the music and the tension in it are wonderfully effective; it’s spare and airy, but strong.” Currently he is working on several projects with the writer/director June Carryl.
Barabba is the founding Executive Director and current Associate Director for Synchromy, a Los Angeles-based composers’ collective presenting new music events throughout the city. He is also Assistant Director for Piano Spheres. Founded in 1994, Piano Spheres supports and encourages the composition and performance of major new works for the piano. It enlarges the piano repertoire by commissioning new works and sustaining a concert series that focuses primarily on works by contemporary composers.
After his major in Latin American Studies as an undergraduate at Occidental College, he went on to study music at the University of Chicago, and composition at the University of California at Irvine, and UCLA.
Barabba left his home of Los Angeles in 2021. He is in the process of claiming dual citizenship via jure sanguinis and is currently living in Italy.
Several of Barabba’s works are available on commercial recordings on the Yarlung Records, MMC Recordings and Navona Records labels.